12 June 2014
Catalunya MotoGP: Lorenzo, Rossi chart Yamaha braking and entry
“Two years ago I started asking Yamaha to work on the downshift without [using] the clutch” – Jorge Lorenzo.
Honda's MotoGP champion Marc Marquez may be unbeaten so far this year, but Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi believe significant gains have been made in solving the M1's biggest weakness.
“We worked very much, together with Yamaha and Jorge, to try to improve the braking and entry into the corner,” said Rossi. “Sincerely for me it is already a big, big step compared with last year, when I was always struggling.
“I think it is the place where Marc is stronger than us. Working in all different areas of the bike it looks like we've improved a little bit and at Mugello it was not so bad, especially Jorge was strong in braking. So we hope that, together with Yamaha, we can find another two or three steps to enter the corner faster.
“It will be very important here in Barcelona this weekend, because for me last year was a disaster on the brakes and I was in a lot of trouble in the first part of the race. So I hope to be more competitive and we will continue to work in this very important area.”
Lorenzo, who came within 0.1s of defeating Marquez at Mugello, then revealed he had been asking for a clutch-less downshift to help take on the Honda even before Rossi returned to Yamaha at the start of 2013.
“Two years ago I started asking Yamaha to try to work on the downshift without [using] the clutch, because Honda have it, and some other brands have it,” said Lorenzo. “Yamaha worked very hard but at the beginning of this season, although I'd asked for it, it was worse for me than the normal clutch system.
“Instead for Valentino it was better from the beginning and little-by-little I began to change some position of the pedal to be more comfortable for me. I improved, and especially in the last races we have improved the electronics a lot to help stop the bike. And also we now have the bigger front brake disc available.
“These three things have made the Yamaha a better bike for braking, but still not at its best potential I think.”
It isn't just the bike that Lorenzo believes can be stronger, the 2013 Catalunya winner explaining why he is not yet at peak physical condition.
"I don't think we've arrived at our best level yet. Some people said at Mugello we arrived at the best level but I think we still have some margin to improve.
“With the bike there is more potential for the electronics to be better and my problem this year was I started my pre-season very, very late. I changed trainer twice and with the third trainer - who I am very happy with - we only started to train two months ago.
“So we have a lot of margin to improve I believe. I think here I will be a little bit better than in Mugello.
“Marc has been one or two steps better than the rest from Qatar. I hope that from now we can be more or less at the same level.”
Rossi and Lorenzo are currently second and fourth in the championship respectively heading into this weekend's seventh round.
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